01 April 2016

It is Called Ticket Punching

With about 5000 US troops in Iraq, there are 21 generals leading the troops there.
Typically, a full bird colonel would command a unit with 5000 soldiers, but there are 21 Generals:

In the war against the self-proclaimed Islamic State, the U.S. military is notably short on soldiers, but apparently not on generals.

There are at least 12 U.S. generals in Iraq, a stunningly high number for a war that, if you believe the White House talking points, doesn’t involve American troops in combat. And that number is, if anything, a conservative estimate, not taking into account the flag officers running the U.S. air war, the admirals helping wage the war from the sea, or their superiors back at the Pentagon.

At U.S. headquarters inside Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone, even majors and colonels frequently find themselves saluting superiors at a pace that outranks the Pentagon and certainly any normal military installation. With about 5,000 troops deployed to Iraq and Syria ISIS war, that means there’s a general for every 416 troops, give or take. To compare, there are some captains in the U.S. Army in charge of that many people.

Moreover, many of those generals come with staffs and bureaucracy that some argue slows decision-making against an agile terror group.

The Obama administration has frequently argued that the U.S. maintains a so-called light footprint in Iraq to reassure the American public that its military is not back in Iraq. Indeed, at times, the United States has not acknowledged where it has deployed troops until one of them died.
There are this many generals in Iraq because of the career needs of the general officer corps, not out of military need.

Getting a combat posting, even a useless one, paves the way to further promotions.

We saw something similar in the cruise missile attacks against Osama bin Laden in the 1990s, when the navy held off launching missiles for hours, so that more ships could get into position so that their captains could get it into their service records.

The missiles missed bin Laden by minutes as a result.

Between the military-industrial complex revolving door and up or out, our military is seriously, and deeply broken.


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